SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KION) The California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health confirmed a case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been identified in California, according to the CDC.
The individual was traveling from South African and landed at San Francisco International Airport on Nov. 22
The CDC said the individual who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving. They said the individual is self-quarantining since testing positive. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative, according to the CDC.
In a press conference, the individual had both Moderna vaccine, but not the booster.
Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and the sequence was confirmed at CDC as being consistent with the Omicron variant. This will be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States.
In a White House news briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the case was in an individual who traveled from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive for Covid-19 on November 29.
The World Health Organization designates Omicron a "variant of concern." In a technical brief released this week, WHO noted that the variant poses a "very high" global risk. The variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa, and has since been detected in several countries.
Scientists are working to determine how transmissible the variant is, how sick it makes people and how well current vaccines work against it. Until more information is learned about the variant, the United States restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries.
On Monday, President Joe Biden called the variant "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic," saying "we'll have to face this new threat just as we face those who have come before it."
Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, or get a booster if they're eligible. Other measures such as masks, handwashing, physical distancing and ventilation will still work against the Omicron variant.
The Delta variant of the coronavirus remains the dominant variant globally and in the United States.